Tell me July

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Elvis & Nixon

Michael Shannon is great in this. Very few people can walk that line of damaged and psychotic without getting cartoony. Except, he’s not really Elvis.

Spacey is also excellent as Tricky. But, ultimately this says little about either man. Or the times. Or our times. And, isn’t funny enough to just be a ceraaaazy story you just won’t believe actually happened.

Diverting enough, though.

Penguin Cafe – Barbican (2 July 2016)

Love, love, love, love, love….

I believe this body of work will continue to grow in stature. It should be regarded shoulder-to-shoulder with Britten in the pantheon of British 20th century composers.

The Bookhouse Boys – The Moth Club (8 July 2016)

Never heard these guys before. Their’s is a sub-Devotchka, mariachi-lite kinda rock. It has some really great moments. Most of which when the singer-bloke isn’t singing. The audience of their fans are so excited that they’re playing again for the first time in years that they can’t keep their traps shut. necessitating a steady push closer to the stage to drown them out. Seems the Moth Club pa is not up to this task.

The Taming of the Shrew – Shakespeare’s Globe (9 July 2016)

Second visit. Groundling, where I belong. Again, questions of adaptation are foremost in my mind. In discussion with one of my theatrical chums, he summed up with the question of should this venue be a museum or a challenging theatre space. I must admit, I kinda lean towards the former. When you can go see the bard on motorbikes in a condemned chemical plant and weekend, it’d be nice to have somewhere that you could get a solid, traditional, take guaranteed.

Director Caroline Byrne, does not agree. Setting her version ‘on the eve’ of the Easter uprising, gives it a Peaky Blinders (actually, more O’Casey – but I’s trying to be relevant) aesthetic. Although, she does also manage to be redolent of Beckett (at his Marxist best) and The Quiet Man. (I don’t know enough about Joyce, but I’m sure he’s in there too.) In the Q&A that followed it was explained that following the rising, there was a declaration of equality of all Irish men and woman. (Something the members of the cast found still debatable.) So, the setting is theoretically the last days of the old patriarchy.

Soliloquy’s are delivered as laments. There’s some huge knock-about business. (In the Q&A one pompous ass asks if it was the director’s intention to drown out the text with such business.) But, ultimately, the strength of this production lies in how it handles the problems we should have with the text in this day and age. Instead of being beaten in to starry-eyed adoration as the text, Katherina finishes this version broken and abused. Giving her final speech from the perspective of goods and chattels, rendering the declaration of her husband as lord, life, keeper, head and sovereign a hollow bitter victory. It’s really nicely handled.

Pretty damn good production. I’m still not sure it’s what I want from the Globe.

Molly’s Plan

Either I’m getting old or this isn’t as painfully cute and smug as it really does appear to be. Great performances and a good few laughs. I enjoyed.

Although, will somebody think of the children!!

The Neon Bible

Latest NWR (as he appears to be known these days) movie is your usual tale of the vacuity of the modelling world and how it’s what’s on the inside that really matters.

I’m really not certain about it. Not sure if the style does win out over its lack of substance. However, it does have Keanu in it. And, we like him

Macbeth – Shakespeare’s Globe (19 July 2016)

Even the presence of the ever fragrant Tara Fitzgerald cannot save this blustering, shouty, grab-bag of ideas production. Meh.

Stalking the Boogeyman – Southwark Playhouse (21 July 2016)

Check me out and my regular theatre going!

Stalking the Boogeyman is an adaptation of a This American Life story, apparently. Which makes perfect sense. It has all the hallmarks of a one-acter from them. This is a good studio-theatre production. Intense and quite moving.

DOA – New Cross Inn (23 July 2016)

How many songs about World War III should your band have? Answer: n + 1, where n is the number you already have.

Great show. Awesome crowd. Cool night all in. AND, they finished with Full Metal Jack-off.


Yeah. Alright. Made me laugh quite a bit. Not as bad as could be feared, but not as astounding as could be hoped. Annoyingly, all the good Kate McKinnon bits were in the trailer.

Tempting Failure Day#5 – Hackney Showroom (25 July 2016)

Art happening type stuff. And of course, you just had to be there…

Oblivians – The Dome, Tufnell Park (27 July 2016)

Seems wrong to complain about the sound for a band as garagey. But, the kick-drum is stupid. And, I’m sure it’s not intentional. Despite that, this is an object lesson in what real elemental rock should be like. It’s pigging awsome.

Drummer Jack Oblivian gets a shot on the guitar for a good 15 minutes or so. Seems he’s a better player than the other two. So, it all starts to get a bit too swampy-blues; a bit too musical. Then he goes back where he belongs and it’s back to the primitive all the way.


Odd. Funny. Greek. Yup, think that covers it

Shilpa Ray – The Social (29 July 2013)

I’ve been keeping an eye out for Ms Ray hitting the UK since reading Mishka Shubaly‘s Beat The Devil in which he describes a rock-n-roll ball-of-fury and force-of-nature. Got to be worth a watch.

And, she’s good. What she’s doing now isn’t 100 miles from the stuff BTD were doing (in fact I recognise some tunes, so definitely doing stuff from previous bands). Of course, now seems like it could be the time for that (ie, the time of Calvi, Barnett, Olsen et al). It’s good. But, not amazing. Everything has that quality of being very nearly something else you just can’t put your finger on. It’s good. I’d see her again. It just doesn’t blow my socks off. Or even live up to the few scraps from previous ‘bands’ (some of which turns up tonight) I’ve listened to previously.

White Heath – George Tavern (30 July 2013)

Still looking a little uncomfortable in this new line-up. Still blummin’ majestic at points. Still convinced they’re going to be massive (in some way)


Written by Tony Kiernan

04 August 2016 at 12:01 am

Posted in 2016, Film, Gigs, London, Music, Theatre

2 Responses

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  1. […] to not acknowledge the skill with which its handled? Perhaps even more deftly than the excellent Shrew earlier this year. And, done in proper hose. No fancy schmancy modern dress nonsense going on […]

  2. […] more songs about WWIII than the last time I saw them. But, one more about Trump. Another rockingly excellent night […]

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